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Kishore Mahbubani

Former Ambassador of Singapore to the United Nations

Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore

Kishore Mahbubani is widely considered to be one of Asia’s leading global public intellectuals, having appeared several times in Foreign Policy Magazine’s list of top 100 global thinkers. In 2014, he was also listed by The Financial Times as one of the 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism.  Perhaps the best summary of Kishore’s contributions was made in the citation for the US Foreign Policy Association Medal he received in June 2004: “a gifted diplomat, a student of history and philosophy, a provocative writer and an intuitive thinker.”

Kishore has enjoyed three distinguished careers: in diplomacy, academia, and writing and speaking. In diplomacy, he served in the Singapore Foreign Service for 33 years (serving also as permanent secretary (CEO) of the foreign ministry and two stints as Singapore’s Ambassador to the UN). In academia, he was the Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS which is deemed to be the premier school in Asia in its field. 

He has spoken, written, and published in all corners of the world. He is the author of eight books including Can Asians Think? and Has China Won? His TED talk has been viewed 2.2m times. Albert H. Gordon Lecture he delivered in Harvard has also been viewed on YouTube over 1.6m times. Over a dozen of videos have had over 100,000 views.  

He has also received many awards. In 1967, he was awarded the President Scholar. He was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore Government in 1998. He was also given the 2003–2004 Dr Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award by the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) at Tufts University. In April 2019, he was the second Singaporean to be elected as an honorary international member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.